Petition 80426

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Principles of Welfare Reform (80426-C1-R160)

Revise Resolution 160: Principles of Welfare Reform, as follows:
Revise opening to “A Statement of Shared Principles of Welfare Reform” section as follows:
The goal of Welfare Reform must be to lift people out of poverty, not merely to reduce welfare rolls. To be effective in reducing poverty, the Work Opportunity and Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, commonly known as Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), and related welfare laws should be based on the following principles. It must:
On February 8, 2006, the President of the United States signed legislation authorizing the Work Opportunity and Personal Responsibility Act, commonly known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Act.  Originally signed into law in 1966, the new provisions will shape the nature of America’s welfare policies through 2010.  Addressing the needs of the most vulnerable of our citizens, particularly women and children, should be the aim of any welfare program.  The TANF Reauthorization heightens the work mandate as a condition to receive benefits, without ensuring adequate family supports such as child care or reducing medical and/or mental health barriers to employment.  The goal of Welfare Reform should be to lift people out of poverty.  
As states now consider the challenge of meeting Federal requirements, we must continue to advocate for policies which:

Amend point four as follows:
4. Continue and encourage public/private partnerships to train workers and help them find jobs. If public jobs are created, they should lead to family-sustaining wages, comply with workplace protection laws, and not displace current workers. States should provide means by which employment programs can be evaluated at the local level for effectiveness and fairness and allow welfare recipients to retain a substantial portion of wage earnings and assets before losing cash, housing, health, child-care, food assistance or other benefits. In no case should former welfare recipients receive less in combined benefits and income as a result of working than they received while they were on welfare.
Insert new call to action as follows:
Therefore, we call on annual conference boards of church and society or their equivalents to urge their state and county governments to create programs that assist current and former welfare recipients in making the transition from dependence to economic health, including: training, public sector job creation, child care and resources for parenting.  
We urge local churches to familiarize themselves with the issues regarding welfare reform.   As states develop changes to TANF regulations, we urge local churches to work with community organizations, local advocates and state officials to protect the right of all people to dignity and well-being, to improve education and training opportunities, and to ensure a “safety net” for the most vulnerable among us.